Investments support the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build back better in rural America, including $29.9 million in Washington State
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Department is investing $1.4 billion to help a diverse rural America keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance.
“For some time, rural America has been at the mercy of an extraction economy, where resources are taken from rural lands only to create jobs and economic opportunity in urban and suburban areas,” Vilsack said. “That’s why USDA is committed to doing what we can to change that extraction economy into a circular economy, where value is added closer to home, so the wealth created in rural areas stays in rural areas. Today’s announcement underlines the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to helping transform the economy and bring high-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the people who need it most.”
The funding just announced will help people and businesses in diverse communities and industries throughout 49 states, including Washington State, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. It will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. And it will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers in nearly every state create jobs, grow businesses and find new and better markets for the items they produce.
For example, in Washington State:
- Over 18 rural businesses will receive Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) totaling over $2.8 million. The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products.
- Rural lenders will receive loan guarantees totaling $26.6 million for their loans to eight rural businesses throughout Washington State under USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program.
- The Northwest Ag Business Center in Mount Vernon and the Northwest Cooperative Development Center based out of Olympia will both receive $200,000 grants through USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, which helps improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals and businesses in the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually owned businesses.
Additionally, grant funds from USDA's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program totaling $69,000 were awarded to three Washington based non profit organizations: the Seattle Economic Development Fund, Tri County Economic Development Nonprofit Corporation, and Enterprise for Equity.
Vilsack highlighted 751 investments that USDA is making in eight programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are part of a suite of business and cooperative services that are projected to help create or save more than 50,000 jobs in rural America through investments made in fiscal year 2021.
“This is great news for our rural economy,” said Helen Price Johnson, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Washington State. “Today’s announcement underlines the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic commitment to helping transform the economy and bring good-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the people who need it most.”
Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov